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A Little Update from Merlin

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Merlin recently responded to a video on Reddit, regarding the state of Squad. It's easy to see how it would get buried on reddit, so it's worth resharing here, in its own thread. Dig in for some tidbits, insights, and words directly from The Boss Man:

 

Hey everyone,

 

I want to write a candid response to the video and thread to hopefully help address concerns that are being brought up. This response is on behalf of the whole team, I posted it internally and we worked to make sure it’s something we all stand behind as developers.

 

We care a lot about you guys, and having seen the amount of people who are unhappy with the state of the game atm has been a bit distressing for us, but we're working intensely to try and address the issues with the state of the game right now.

 

I can start with the good news which is that we’re aiming to get a 10.2 patch out either later this week or early next week.

WIth that patch we will be addressing two of the bad bugs commonly mentioned at the moment, which are:

 

  • The meatgrinder meta at FOBs. A large part of the problems with this in A10 are caused by a bug where your spawn timer at a fob no longer increases when people are killed at it, which has been fixed for 10.2.
  • The problem where you can lose your role when someone leaves your Squad, or be switched to a role you don’t like, addressed by the following two fixes
  • First, currently a player leaving the Squad immediately bumps you off a limited role in game even if you’re alive if your Squad no longer meets the requirements. We have changed this so that test only happens when you actually die and fully give up.
  • Second, in cases where you do lose your role, your role becomes unselected so that you are aware of it and are able to choose something else, instead of defaulting to rifleman.

 

I think all in all though, I don’t share the view that things are as dire as you might think, but I rather think this is really just a perfect storm of circumstances that have lead to a rough couple months. The game has been in this state before (after the vehicle launch was the biggest example) and I'm confident our team will work through this.

 

The biggest issues I see are:

 

  • Alpha 10 has made performance worse. I think this is the root of many of the real deeper issues and the cause of a lot of frustration in the community with the game, which at times manifests itself in different ways.
  • The two user experience bugs above are still in 10.1 (meatgrinder and role selection).
  • The AAS game mode out of the box in A10 being something that doesn’t have a lot of replayability now that games are turning into a stalemate a lot more. In particular this is pushed further by influencing advance flags being removed, gun-play being slower, and in particular with the meatgrind meta that already existed and has been made worse by the spawn bug.
  • Some of our player base not liking the new gunplay, in some cases wholesale, but for most people just some small details of it
  • General bugginess of the game (e.g. queue issues, freezing, crashing for some people, etc)
  • Vets not playing due to one or more of the above, leading to not enough experienced players in game to offset the new players in v10. This causes a feedback loop where the vets who do stick around get tired of having to always teach new players with a poor ratio.
  • Mixed messages from us about these problems, and exactly how we are fixing them.

I can tell you with certainty we know and recognize all the above issues, and are working hard to solve all of them.

The key thing to realize is that I think the community got used to the level of stability that existed in Alpha 9, and in many ways we are going to see the growing pains of us going down the path to get our game fleshed out and launched.

 

The reality is that in order to make the game we have a vision for, we’re going to have to make changes and disrupt things along the way. It’s like the old adage “you've got to crack a few eggs to make an omelet”. This year we’re placing a lot more emphasis on making rapid progress on features, functionality and gameplay changes, and at times it’s going to come at the cost of stability and the changes aren’t going to be perfect at first.

 

We often are forced to choose between things taking a lot longer, or the game being less stable, and at the moment we are airing on the side of pushing to get things done quicker, even if it's going to have some nasty issues come in along the way. I do adamantly believe this is what players want, and that people would much rather release take 2 - 3 months with some bugginess, rather than 5 - 6 months with very high stability, which often we can't hit anyway.

 

As what should hopefully be a testament to us working hard to solve the issues you guys care about, we’re right in the middle of development of randomized AAS and territory control, improving the damage model for vehicles, tweaking gun handling/transition times and improving our user interface and nametag settings. This is in addition to a good amount of new content that should freshen up the game.

 

These changes will be coming quickly too compared to the pace of development last year. Alpha 11 is scheduled internally and currently on target to come out in April, and we’re working hard to get as many of those improvements above as we can into it. I don’t want to promise just yet what will make it in exactly when though, as there is surely going to be stuff that won’t make it in, and not all of these changes are simple or easy (in particular the game mode ones).

 

Performance is a tougher nut to crack, but we’re specifically focusing on it and working through the worst parts. We have 3 programmers working on performance-related functionality, and our programmers and QA have been digging into performance profile reports in depth. Another great thing is that we’ve begun developing a relationship with some the lead technical guys on the Fortnite team, and are talking with them about what things we can improve in game, as they are a case of a team that has gotten a similar style of game on Unreal Engine running quite smoothly.

 

On a final note, I wanted to address the game’s overall design direction. It’s been talked about a lot since Alpha 10 came out, and it is one of the points specifically highlighted in the video.

 

There are a number of people who feel the game will now be taking a sharp turn in the milsim direction, which I do not believe is the case. The game is supposed to give people an experience that feels like you're in real combat, but we're never trying to have it be anywhere near the level you'd see in something like Arma. Quite to the contrary, I feel that Project Reality had something that was halfway in between Arma and Battlefield, and I see Squad being in roughly the same kind of spot.

 

We are trying to make some improvements to bring the game more and more in line with our original vision, which is a teamwork based game that puts emphasis on players moving together and working together. One thing I think people are going to have to realize is that this means that gameplay is going to be slowed down from what existed in the early days of Squad. Any of our long-time players know this already happened during the very early days of Squad when vehicles were added.

 

In particular suppression changes when they come for example will hammer this home further. We also really want less emphasis on fast-paced firefights that end quickly with everyone dying, and more emphasis on strategy and maneuvering, prolonged firefights with suppressive fire, and often getting wounded/healed in long range engagements. For us, these are all an atmosphere that gets people talking and working together, rather than spending their time respawning constantly.

 

Since I know where this falls in relation to Project Reality has been mentioned a lot in this thread, it’s worth making the comparison. I think everyone does need to remember that we have always intended Squad to be a spiritual successor to PR, and while we don’t want to be exactly the same as the original PR, we want many important aspects to feel the same. This is where as many have pointed out, yes sway and the changes in A10 are meant in many ways to fill the same role that deviation did in PR. We plan to tone it down a bit and tweak/adjust it, but it’s here to stay. That said, I feel sometimes these changes are being viewed in a vacuum, where other things like making a more impactful suppression mechanic and making FOBs more fragile will also be major changes which change the game even further, and again which chunks of the existing community will likely not like.

 

At the end of the day, we’re just going to have to keep pushing onward making the game we are envisioning, even if it’s not the one that 100% of the players who have been along for the journey are happy with. I think a lot of the trouble at the moment is that these changes to the game are combining with general bugs and issues that come with development, and it is leading to a lot of unhappy people, which is totally understandable.

 

With time though I think these problems will improve as we finish more and more of our final features, and more of our stability improvements are permanent. As the game gets closer to its final vision, people will get a chance to play the game with that vision, and will either love it or move on. I spent years playing PR and having an awesome experience playing together with clan mates, in the PR tournament, and eventually developing the game, and I think Squad will eventually be there as well where it has a stable community that doesn’t have to deal with these dramatic changes to the game and periods of instability. I see Squad as a game that will be around the next 5 - 10 years, especially when modding comes into the picture.

 

It just takes some time and works to do it, and everyone really needs to remember this and bear with us as we make it happen. At the end of the day, if people need to take a break for a few months while we work this stuff out, it won’t be the end of the world, we’ll still be here working hard and trying to build something awesome for you guys.

Note that formatting has been preserved as closely as possible for clarity, but I did fix some grammar/duplicate words, 'cause we all have pet peeves, damnit.

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Posted (edited)

I'm glad that you took the time to address the current issues and set people's minds with ease and understanding of whats going on with the game and with the team. Thank you. This is why you guys are awesome and continue to support you. You guys really do care and have a vision in mind for Squad that will not be changed, because due to the pressures of life and people. You know what they say, "slow and steady wins the race.".

Edited by WarEagle751

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all bs aside, this is the type of transparency we needed. Glad to see the devs are reading our feedback and concerns. Finalizing Squad to its intended vision while working out the kinks and bugs between releases is no easy task. There's plenty of guys here that although may be frustrated with some changes do realize it's for the greater good. 

 

We all want to see Squad succeed. It already does a phenomenal job balancing realism and reading Merlin saying:

23 minutes ago, Gatzby said:

The game is supposed to give people an experience that feels like you're in real combat, but we're never trying to have it be anywhere near the level you'd see in something like Arma. Quite to the contrary, I feel that Project Reality had something that was halfway in between Arma and Battlefield, and I see Squad being in roughly the same kind of spot.

 

Is a breath of fresh air!

 

Thank you! We all appreciate the good work you guys do :) 

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1 hour ago, Gatzby said:

1- Some of our player base not liking the new gunplay, in some cases wholesale,

 

2- We are trying to make some improvements to bring the game more and more in line with our original vision, which is a teamwork based game that puts emphasis on players moving together and working together.

 

3- We also really want less emphasis on fast-paced firefights that end quickly with everyone dying, and more emphasis on strategy and maneuvering.

 

4- As the game gets closer to its final vision, people will get a chance to play the game with that vision, and will either love it or move on.

1- It's fine, I can flick around like a 12 year old CSGO Twitch streamer and head shot people while doing ADAD-EQEQ spam. Working as intended tovarisch.

2- 30mm eats "players moving together and working together." If you haven't noticed.

3- Average visibility on any given map is 50 meters thanks to foliage spam. OFC you gonna get CSGO like engagements. Maneuvering does not mean anything if they cant see you anyway.

4-Like it or move on? Nice mind set. It's fine tho, considering people don't need to pay for this game because it's F2P. Wait...

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One thing you ought to address is the abhorrent "corruption" between licensed server administrators and your development team. Look into the complaints made rather than dismiss it as a squabble. 

 

But then again, why would you do that since you've been friends with these people since pr.

 

Regulate the servers as developers and cut the cancer.

 

I've seen multiple guidelines breached and complaints ignored while your buddies get away with blue murder that is completely unwarranted, based off of their ego trip because they know they are untouchable. And yes, you could say just join another server but that defeats the entire purpose of having offical licensed servers.

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Quote

Alpha 11 is scheduled internally and currently on target to come out in April,

Sounds like perfect Aprils fools. :) 

 

Nice to see community updates.

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Great post.  Unfortunately, not everyone is as patient, but with time it will get even better.

 

I've always admired the constant communication from you guys :).

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Posted (edited)

Nice to hear you hear ...I never played PR but Squad when I got involved nearly 2 years ago I guess sat right in the sweet spot for me, military simish but not dry... I think V10 was also in a lot of peoples minds going to be the game changer (in my mind anyway) that would lift it to the next level, especially as development had been slow.  Whilst great, ultimately a bit of climbing with better animations for a drop in performance didn't cut it.

 

For me personally its focus on some of the maps and gameplay to make it feel a bit more strategic than deathmatch.. what you do matters rather than how many you kill.  Still love the game and look forward to many more hours.

Edited by embecmom

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The FOB spawn timer bug is debilitating; it ruins the gameplay for attackers and defenders. These types of issues should be patched within 2 weeks of a major release.

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This. This is awesome. Thanks for the post/response. The one thing I appreciate than basally anything else from developers is transparency. 

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Just keep up the good work, " you can’t please all of the people all of the time"

 

I want a game between BF and Arma like PR was, I have played Squad since its early test versions and have remained optimistic about its final destination  (My PR2 I dreamed of). So sticking with it bugs 'n all.

 

[RIP] salute you and your team.

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5 hours ago, eggman said:

The FOB spawn timer bug is debilitating; it ruins the gameplay for attackers and defenders. These types of issues should be patched within 2 weeks of a major release.

True.

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, eggman said:

The FOB spawn timer bug is debilitating; it ruins the gameplay for attackers and defenders. These types of issues should be patched within 2 weeks of a major release.

true and there is also response on that matter from Merlin:

 

I think you have a very ponient point, in particular it really shouldn't have taken us two months to get the fob spawn timer bugfix in. I'll make sure we have an internal discussion about it. I think it's a simple case of us still not having room for improvement with our deployment practices. Perhaps an idea could be sitting the concept of a patch from a hotfix as you refer to, so that we're able to quickly push out one or two critical fixes when we need to.

 

I hope we see hotfixes (as this one should be) more often...

 

About update: good read. VERY well written. Much needed response. I'm glad there is this king of thinking in development team (or at least someone if not all). Huhh... patient bear.

Edited by Disco

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Ok, me, in game. B|

I'm LAT, I slowly sneak up on a Stryker through enemy territory and nail it with two RPGs before it cuts me in half and moves off. 

I respawn, revenge on my mind... >:(

Run halfway across the map, flanking aaaaallll the way around so I won't be seen :ph34r:

I find it, it's sitting there, alone and defenseless! :)

Hit 3 to switch to rockets, you're gonna DIE! MWHAAHAAA!!

My hands pull out a grenade......

 

Praise be to Merlin and the devs for finally fixing the role switch bug, I'm not sure my mental health could take more of the above

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I think the video Merlin is responding to focused a lot on the decline of the player base. That decline, I feel, is probably more of a consequence to the performance decrease we have incurred since v10. I have a 1080ti / 8700k and have noticed a rather big dip in fps. If it's affecting my PC I can see many others turning away from Squad, if only temporarily, who have gone from a playable to an unplayable state. This is especially true as the animation update brought into v10 was touted to give a decent boost to performance.

 

Other than performance I don't have any major gripes with v10. I am really enjoying the freedom climbing and vaulting has brought. Weapon handling is just a case of adapting. The devs will change it over time but it's not worth throwing a tantrum over and stopping playing. The worst bug for me is the medic dance we now have to do to perform a revive but again that will be sorted in due course.

 

Having a decent SL has always be a major factor in enjoying a match in Squad. Getting in a Squad with a decent SL and squad of players willing to take orders, good or bad, is often a bit hit or miss. Doing the same with a whole team is even rarer. Having all that and a being opposed by a similarly clued up enemy for the best experience can, unfortunately, be almost impossible.....for now. I still have faith that players will adapt to the kind of team play a game like Squad needs or at least those who don't care for that style of play leave for a game better suited to them. Maybe they will come back when they tire of the CoD and Battlefields of the virtual world. For me I just try to find a good SL, enjoy the round, and help my squad do the best job we can. If all the stars align and I get that impossible game then I find it one of gaming's best experiences, win or lose.

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Posted (edited)

Can't share "the player base is dying" feeling, some peps are talking on forums. Looking at at steam charts, player count is somewhat constant.

Nice to see Merlin is sharing some info. Maybe the poker face, we wont show you our cards thing from devs is the wrong path. Maybe was okay in PR, but i don't see it fit with Squad. Because the most fustrating thing at the moment imo is the lack of content and not seeing progress is maybe what upset the players the most?

I like the transparancy of development in HLL, for example.

Edited by Axel

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The transparency (information given from dev-team to community) were in bigger role in the beginning of this project, it were almost non-existent for a moment. A bit better now, still lacking a bit. The main issue is that this forum is not the main media (as it used to be at the beginning of the project) and the information is scattered all around to other platforms of communication like Reddit & Discord whose nature insist the user to follow them almost 24/7 to keep track of discussion. 

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Guys , one of the most important things that needs to be addressed by the devs is the "name tag problem" , never in my time on the forums i've heard of someone that is pleasedwith the way name tags currently behave ....  Please ! It's a simple fix ! Don't give me that "the devs need to put resources into something else" , just no .... We should try to be more innovative , try something new , the loyal community keeps asking for removal of name tags !!! ( atleast for certian servers ) , i know it might make the game less accessible to other players , but giving server admin the abillity to turn off the nametags for their players , with a huge message that notifies the you should play at their own risk , please devs ! Give us this small simple feature ! 

 

 

 

 

Love , "name tag haters" .

 

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5 hours ago, L0cation said:

Guys , one of the most important things that needs to be addressed by the devs is the "name tag problem" , never in my time on the forums i've heard of someone that is pleasedwith the way name tags currently behave ....  Please ! It's a simple fix ! Don't give me that "the devs need to put resources into something else" , just no .... We should try to be more innovative , try something new , the loyal community keeps asking for removal of name tags !!! ( atleast for certian servers ) , i know it might make the game less accessible to other players , but giving server admin the abillity to turn off the nametags for their players , with a huge message that notifies the you should play at their own risk , please devs ! Give us this small simple feature ! 

 

 

 

 

Love , "name tag haters" .

 

 

From the Alpha 10.1 change log:
 

Made nametags more transparant when aiming directly at them. The enemy won't be able to hide behind a nametag anymore

 

Although this is currently bugged, the devs are addressing name tags and it's something that they are clearly aware of. If anything, they're exploring different avenues before resorting to drastic measures like enable/disable options.

 

That's not to say they won't do it in the future as a server side option for admins, but all of that is a bunch of things that should be left until the very late stages of development. Otherwise you risk splitting one game into multiple.

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11 hours ago, Assi said:

 

From the Alpha 10.1 change log:
 

 

 

 

Although this is currently bugged, the devs are addressing name tags and it's something that they are clearly aware of. If anything, they're exploring different avenues before resorting to drastic measures like enable/disable options.

 

That's not to say they won't do it in the future as a server side option for admins, but all of that is a bunch of things that should be left until the very late stages of development. Otherwise you risk splitting one game into multiple.

So let us just make nametags the way they were in project reality all together :P !! , it was so perfectly balanced then , where you could see name tags if you focus on the target enough , but they were mostly invisable ( espically and longer ranges ) , making people actually use the minimap/distinguish by uniform and gear , rather then just shooting everying that doesn't have a name above it ...

The battlefield frachise is ruined due to too much 3rd spotting information added with every game , i want this game to be different , and bring back the feature of recognizing targets before opening fire at everything that moves ^^ 

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Posted (edited)

How about just making nametags hover 2-3 inches further up on the screen rather than directly above the person’s head so they don’t block where your crosshairs are pointing? Seems like the simplest solution to me.

Edited by fatalsushi

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On 4/1/2018 at 2:58 AM, WARti0k0ne -BG- said:

The transparency (information given from dev-team to community) were in bigger role in the beginning of this project, it were almost non-existent for a moment. A bit better now, still lacking a bit. The main issue is that this forum is not the main media (as it used to be at the beginning of the project) and the information is scattered all around to other platforms of communication like Reddit & Discord whose nature insist the user to follow them almost 24/7 to keep track of discussion. 

This is something we're aware of and trying to help with threads like these. There's a lot going on on EVERY platform and it's definitely hard to keep up on, especially if you're just looking to get the latest scoop and play a game.

 

20 hours ago, Assi said:

Although this is currently bugged, the devs are addressing name tags and it's something that they are clearly aware of. If anything, they're exploring different avenues before resorting to drastic measures like enable/disable options.

Should have a bit more on this coming in a recap shortly too. Coders are working on it based on what we're hearing from the community.

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